Mantra for the day

“We need to un-disrupt the industry that we love.”

This from Andy Hunter, CEO of Bookshop, in the Authors Guild Summer 2021 bulletin which we’ve just gotten around to reading. It helps provide a handy reply to those who upon learning of EDITH have made some remark about the popular temptations of trying to “disrupt” industries. (Granted, only a handful of people have done this.) Because it’s true: preserving and salvaging, even restoring, is so much more interesting.

P.S. Here’s the delightful Eva Talmadge’s interview with Hunter in the Journal of Beautiful Business.

EDITH updates, v10

This one will be quick! Getting right to it:

  • Thanks to the designer Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s newsletter, we learned the term deltiologist (for postcard collector), and of this online collection belonging to James Brouwer, and of the phenomenon of onlooker postcards. We happen to own some “onlooker postcards” in our admittedly meager collection but didn’t realize it was a thing. Why do we bring this up? You may have noticed some postcard-derived images on EDITH. We’re big fans of collage and repurposing vintage images, esp. if they’re indisputably public domain. If you’re similarly tacky and looking for image inspiration for your listing, you may want to check out flickr accounts like Brouwer’s, The Public Domain Reviewrawpixel, or the website of a museum you like, as many have online collections with hi-res downloads available to the public, for free. Here’s the Smithsonian’s Open Access site, which has…a lot, including some things you’ll wish you hadn’t seen. (“Owney the [taxidermied] Dog” I could have done without.)
  • “Be as open as you can be. Be as honest as you can be about who you are.” This New York Times wrap-up of their series on people who prove it’s never too late is sweet. Another insight, this from a gentleman who recorded his first album at age 85: “Getting out of a groove — sometimes you just need company. There’s this fantasy that creativity is something you do alone, by candlelight. No! Do something with other people who are as genuinely interested as you are.” Amen.
  • We are thrilled to welcome illustrator and author Kate Samworth to EDITH. Please check out her work.
  • Two people showed up for our first EDITH Office Hours last week. A fantastic two people. Because sometimes you just need company, we’re doing it again Wednesday, January 26, 12:00 – 1:00PM EST. If you’d like to join to ask a question, talk about an issue you’re having with the UX, or just chat, write to and I’ll send you the link.

The image this week? An onlooker postcard, of course. Red clothing is a recurring theme.

Fundraiser for Essex Card Shop

Please pardon this brief sidenote on a very local concern for us here at EDITH! As you may know, we are based in New York City’s Lower East Side. On Monday this week our longtime stationery (plus pens, paper clips, printer ink, batteries, children’s party supplies, toys, crafts, doodad, UPS, and starting during the pandemic, household basics like soap, sponges, etc.) shop—oh, and they’re a notary public as well—was irreparably damaged in a fire. The outpouring of support from the community was immediate. The owners are always so friendly, so calm and kind, and over many years their store had become a real source of continuity and comfort for the neighborhood.

One of the co-owner’s daughters has set up a GoFundMe: Help Essex Card Shop on Ave A.

We’ll leave you with a PDF of the gift they hand out to customers—five pages of their collected wisdom on how to be. Please enjoy.

EDITH updates, v9

We fielded many questions this week! So with the thinking that when one person asks a question, another person is likely wondering the same thing, we’ll repeat those questions, with apologies to those for whom the answers will be old news:

Is there an EDITH vetting process for service providers?

As of right now, we have an open-door policy to becoming a service provider on EDITH, but that may change soon, as the word spreads. Having no barrier to participation made sense in the very beginning because in essence we were still “undiscovered” by design as we worked out some kinks on the site—and frankly we hadn’t told many people we existed yet. There was also the pragmatic business argument that one can let the marketplace sort out quality control issues, e.g. in the way of Airbnb, where you can find entire townhouses renting for $2,500/night (this property happens to be down the street from our office,) and rooms whose main selling point is that they’re close to JFK airport for $70/night, and there’s an expectation of buyer beware, and that reviews will eliminate any bad actors from contention. I’m not saying I find those arguments entirely persuasive given how personal book projects are, or can be, but in summary, our plan is now to move up our date, currently set for March 30, for initiating an invite-only or vetting process for new EDITH service providers. 

Can you add more genres to the list of specialties?

Yes, and we will! Big thanks to those who pointed out that our Genres list contained some gaping holes. We’ll also add an N/A or “Prefer not to answer” option for those of you working in areas, such as coaching or mentoring, where genre questions don’t necessarily apply.

Why can’t I add this ISBN to my completed projects listing?

It may be because it’s an Amazon-only, 10-digit ASIN, which our system is not set up to accept. But given that this keeps coming up, we’ll change the system so that those of you with primarily ASINs can properly showcase your work.

Other news? On Wednesday this week we’ll meet with our tech team to talk about what’s next feature-wise. Aside from gift card or promo capabilities, we’re looking at adding the ability to favorite a provider’s page, plus some integrations that will allow us to automate some back-end tasks.

The image this week comes from an online workshop about unfinished projects we conducted late in 2020. The discussion that resulted was so, so rich, and we’d love to do it again. Do you have an unfinished project that haunts you in some way?

Thanks, as always, for reading.

We need visual artist friends

“It was filtered down to me, therefore, that a writer found himself at least partly underequipped for the creative life if he didn’t acquire at least one visual-artist friend to share it with.” —Ross Feld

It’s wooing designers and illustrators week here at EDITH! Know anyone who might be a good fit? Please send them our way. The more, the merrier.